IDG Contributor Network: Can Amazon be stopped?

Prime retail space is going vacant. The latest example of yet another retailer closing its doors is Payless Shoe Source. Payless has filed Chapter 11 and will be closing 400 stores. It’s ironic really, because their whole premise is Americans want to pay less for shoes, but the retailer can’t match the price or experience of online options. It’s one more example of the epidemic hitting brick-and-mortar retailers.

Last year (and again this year), it was Radio Shack that prompted the headlines. Sears has been in decline for decades. The Limited is even more limited now that it has filed for bankruptcy and has begun closing 250 of its stores.

Macy’s and Sears alone will be abandoning 28 million square feet of retail space. The loss of these anchor stores is what starts the dreaded domino effect at the mall. If the mall can’t back fill that space, reduced numbers of shoppers impact the demand for sunglasses, cinnamon rolls and all the other small businesses that survive on the other brands’ crowds. When they fall, so does the mall.

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